Online Museums and Indigenous Cultural Heritage

I am starting to explore and use the website. I made myself an account and receive notifications of papers uploaded in my fields of interest. I’d like to point an interesting one: “From Loss of Objects to Recovery of Meanings: Online Museums and Indigenous Cultural Heritage” by Jeremy Pilcher and Saskia Vermeylen, in M/C Journal, 11, 6 (2008). A few excerpts:

Traditional methods of displaying Indigenous heritage are now regarded with deep suspicion and resentment by Indigenous peoples … A number of related issues such as the appropriation, ownership and repatriation of culture together with the treatment of sensitive and sacred materials and the stereotyping of Indigenous peoples’ identity … have been identified as the main problems in the debate about museum curatorship and Indigenous heritage.

The technology employed in cybermuseology provides the means by which control over meaning may, at least to some extent, be dispersed … In this way online museums provide the opportunity for Indigenous peoples to challenge being subjected to manipulation by one authoritative museological voice. One of the ways this may be achieved is through interactivity by enabling the use of social tagging and folksonomy …

We regard an important potential benefit of an online museum as the replacement of accessing material through the “unassailable voice” with the multiplicity of Indigenous voices. A number of ways to do this are suggested by a variety of new media artworks, including those that employ a database to rearrange information to reveal underlying cultural positions …

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